Higher Education: The Periglacial Himalaya

At The Glacier Trust we aim to implement programmes in Nepali communities from the lower lying hills through to the high Himalayas. To achieve appropriate and necessary interventions a sound scientific understanding of the community's problems is needed (for example, a soil test so that we know which crops will grow well in that area and which nutrients are lacking).

This scientific basis isn't so difficult to achieve in the relatively easy access regions of the foothills and the mid-hills. However, the high Himalayan regions take days to reach and as a consequence they lack the scientific study needed for us to implement projects. TGT's Periglacial research and education programme addressed this by focusing upon developing scientific studies within these hard to reach regions (which are primarily located in the periglacial zone, an area between the agricultural hills and the glaciers).

The main environmental component of these high Himalayan communities that needs researching is permafrost. This is ground that is frozen continuously for two or more years running, and as the climate continues to warm across Nepal this permafrost is beginning to melt. This is a relatively difficult phenomena to study as it is not clearly visible on the surface as demonstrated in the images below taken in the Solukhumbu region.

Why study it?

Permaforst melt will affect a broad range of systems but the main concerns for the communities in these regions is how their water resources, ecology, and potential for erosion will be affected. By enabling Nepali Masters students to learn about these issues and conduct their own research in this area we are beginning to build a capacity to deal with climate change related issues in these high mountain areas. Have a look how our Higher Education programme is starting to gain traction hinted at in the images below and detailed further in the Aims & Objectives.